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Conference: Harmony and Order vs. Spontaneity and Revolt in Eastern and Western Philosophies
Date: 13-15 August 2010 

European Studies Conference:

Harmony and Order vs. Spontaneity and Revolt in Eastern and Western Philosophies

Date: 13-15 August, 2010
Venue: Room 218, Convocation Room, Main Building, HKU Campus

While all lives and social formations involve degrees of harmony and order vs. spontaneity and revolt, their respective significance and how to adequately combine them is an ongoing question full of important personal, political, economic and social implications. Confucianism and Pragmatism are, inter alia, attempts to integrate contradictory forces and novel experiences in order to achieve the goal of harmony and order within an environment.

In a long forgotten, but interesting book, which is a curious mixture of Nietzschean and strangely unorthodox ‘Christian’ ideas, The Christian Future or The Modern Mind Outrun, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy argued that Confucius and Dewey represented a similar outlook onto the world, where they privileged an all inclusive, cooperative, painless, and impersonal model of social integration. ‘Progress,’ he says in that book, ‘is not the revolutionary new beginning of a tradition hitherto unknown but the extension of known qualities.’ Against Confucius he held up the example of Lao Tse, and against Dewey his own model in which he emphasizes the importance of creative new beginnings.

The aim of this conference is to draw upon Eastern and Western traditions and philosophies to explore the social and political implications of the tensions between harmony and spontaneity, order and revolt as well as how to constructively address these tensions. We are particularly interested in considering these ideas in the context of how they help us meet the challenges facing the East and West today, as well as considering the various philosophical explorations – past and present – which bear on the issues they raise.

Programme information:

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